Five of the 21 competition films are directed by women, Barbera said — down from eight last year. “It might seem a step backward, but that is just a partial point of view,” he added. Female directors appeared to have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic more than their male counterparts, he said, adding, “I really hope they will have a comeback.”
Bong Joon Ho, the director of “Parasite,” will chair the competition jury that also includes the British actress Cynthia Erivo and Chloé Zhao, the director of “Nomadland,” which won last year’s Golden Lion and went on to win the Academy Award for best film.
This year’s festival may see the return of blockbusters to Venice, but it will still be far from business as usual. Roberto Cicutto, the festival’s president, said at the news conference that rules introduced last year to limit the spread of the coronavirus, such as compulsory seat reservations and masks for indoor screenings, would likely continue.
In line with Italian government regulations coming into force Aug. 6, anyone attending screenings, or even eating indoors at the festival site, will be required to show proof of having received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a recent negative test result or a certificate showing proof of having recovered from the illness in the past six months.
Italy’s government announced the requirements this month as virus numbers rose across the country. On Sunday, the public health authorities reported new 4,742 cases. That is far down from this year’s peak of over 25,000 new daily cases in March, but the rise in cases has caused concern in a country that the pandemic hit hard last year.
“This year, we hoped we could be more relaxed,” Cicutto said. “For the time being, it isn’t so. But we continue to hope.”